CMS East stops the buzz with a new phone policy


Kavya Lokhande

The ownership of cell phones has changed expeditionality in the range of four years. Staff writer Rhea Chowdhary explores how this has created the implementation of updated phone policies in Coppell Middle School East.

Rhea Chowdhary, Staff Photographer

Coppell Middle School East introduced a new phone policy for 2022-23 following Coppell High School’s phone policy, which began 2019. As the age for receiving a phone slowly decreases and the prevalence of phones in classrooms has been increasing over the years, this policy sparks diverse opinions among students and teachers.

When talking to CMSE Science Department head Sarah Grover, she discussed her enforcement of a “no phone zone” policy in her classroom. The rule of the policy is that if you have a phone in the classroom, it needs to be in a pocket and can be collected at the end of class.

The pockets are large pieces of fabric organized in a grid with slots to store phones away from student desks and workspaces.

Grover has observed a positive shift in social connections between her students and her teaching flow in the classroom. 

“Even when they finish their work, they’re not using [phones],” Grover said. “It allowed them to have conversations with their table mates and catch up on their work. I’ve also seen a lot of positive interactions in the classroom instead of students isolating themselves on their phone.”

Phone policies in classrooms can have varying opinions, as a disparity in experiences between teachers and students is expected to exist. Teachers appreciate the phone policy for its appearance of better student focus during lectures, but students have a different outlook on the effectiveness of the policy.

 “It isn’t really my favorite thing because sometimes there can be an emergency in the middle of class and you need some form of communication with your parents,” CMSE seventh grader Alexis H. said. “[It would be better if] you could have your phone on you but if it’s caught out they can confiscate it. Also, to keep it where you have to put your phone in the caddy (grid phone pockets) when testing.”

According to CMSE eighth grader Gia A., the policy has been somewhat beneficial to her learning as she and her peers are not on their phones during class. However, she thinks it can also be distracting in a way.

“If your phone is going off in the caddy, it can be distracting as there is no way to directly turn off your phone or know who’s phone is ringing,” Gia said.

Alexis, as well as Gia, expressed her thoughts on the policy’s effectiveness in improving her learning.

 “Once in a while, there would be kids on their phones in the middle of class and that would be really distracting, but sometimes you need a [phone because] you can’t do [things] on your iPad and do your assignment at the same time,” Alexis said.

The difference in opinions expressed by students and teachers shows a large perspective shift in feelings toward the policy. Although teachers think the phone policy improves learning and focus, students think that having their phone being seen as a resource as opposed to a distraction could benefit their learning experience.

The school’s recent enforcement of a phone policy brings up the question as to why these phone policies are even being enforced in middle schools. CMSE Principal Melissa Arnold said that the policy was enforced to ensure focus during learning and instruction as she has seen an increase in off-task behaviors and phone usage in classrooms.

A study done by Common Sense Media, an organization that reviews and provides information and statistics on children regarding all different types of media, showed an increase in the younger population receiving a phone from 2015 compared to 2019. The study shows a 17% increase in the population of 10 year olds receiving a phone, 21% increase for 11 year olds, 28% increase for 12 year olds, and a 22% increase for 13 year olds. 

The ownership of phones has become very familiar to kids of the middle school age.

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